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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Archive for March, 2013

Yankees release Juan Rivera03.28.13

As first reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have released Juan Rivera.

Rivera said he was just told a few minutes ago. He said the Yankees told him they are planning to carry Lyle Overbay as their first baseman and Ben Francisco as a reserve outfielder.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 93 Comments →

Spring training Game 33: Yankees vs. Pirates03.28.13

YANKEES (13-17-1)
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jayson Nix SS
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 2.31)

PIRATES (12-18-1)
Starling Marte LF
Garrett Jones RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Russell Martin C
Clint Barmes SS
Jeff Locke P

LHP Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.38)

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., not on television

WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid to high 60s. No real chance of rain. It’s actually a beautiful day to wrap up seven weeks in Tampa.

UMPIRES: HP Kolin Kline, 1B Mark Wagner, 2B Marcus Pattillo (only three umpires today)

PACKED UP: The Yankees clubhouse is full of boxes and suitcases for players ready to catch a flight soon after this game is over. Most everyone still in big league camp is making the trip north, and the team will leave shortly after today’s game.

READ INTO IT: Nothing official, but it does seem meaningful that Chris Stewart caught CC Sabathia’s last spring start and Francisco Cervelli is catching Hiroki Kuroda’s. That could be an indication that Stewart will catch Opening Day and Cervelli will catch the second game.

NUNO WINS DAWSON AWARD: Vidal Nuno won the Dawson Award as the top rookie in Yankees camp.

WHAT TO WATCH: I tend to assume that Lyle Overbay will come off the bench to play first base in the late innings. It makes sense that Juan Rivera is getting the start against a left-handed Pirates starter. It’s looking like there could be a first base platoon to start the season with Rivera playing against lefties and Overbay playing against righties. … Robinson Cano skipped last night’s game because of a stomach bug, but he’s back in there today. Brennan Boesch is also playing a second game in a row after missing a few days with soreness in his rib cage. … Ichiro Suzuki in center field could be an indication that he’s going to be the backup in center. Vernon Wells has also played a lot of center in his career.

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m: Brennan Boesch with a double. Just like last night’s home run, this hit came off a left-hander.

UPDATE, 2:08 p.m.: Kuroda is through five scoreless having allowed just one hit. Of course, this late in the spring, guys are swinging early and often. The Yankees have just three hits today and it’s a 0-0 game.

UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: Boone Logan was just smoked by a line drive and is coming out of the game. He was clearly in some pain. Should know later whether it’s a significant issue. Could be nothing more than a painful bruise. There’s zero chance it felt good.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 528 Comments →

Pregame notes: Two things about the Adams release03.28.13

Late report for the Yankees this morning, and most of the buzz in the clubhouse had to do with packing up boxes and suitcases. In terms of real news, things were pretty quiet down there, so here are two things to know about the Yankees decision to release David Adams earlier this week. One I already knew, the other has been explained to me over the past two days.

1. A released player has to pass through unconditional release waivers. This is why the release initially made little sense to me. If the Yankees were going to put Adams through waivers, why not have the chance to keep him in the remote chance that he actually clears?

2. In Adams’ case — but apparently not in every release waivers case – the player has the right to reject a claim. This is seems to be the key difference that I didn’t know 48 hours ago. There is termination pay involved and some other case-specific issues that I still don’t fully understand, but the bottom line is that Adams could be claimed, reject the claim and elect free agency.

Not surprisingly, I have  been told the Yankees would like to re-sign Adams if he becomes available.

Would a player turn down another offer to take a non-40-man gig with a team that just released him? Hard to say. Probably depends on the other opportunity/opportunities on the table. The Yankees clearly like Adams, and they took him off the 40-man strictly because of a numbers issue. Adams is a bright guy, so I am sure he realizes that the Yankees haven’t given up on him. I am also sure he realizes that the Yankees have invested a lot of time into getting him healthy, which suggests they are not going to forget about him if he is not on the 40-man.

That said, Corban Joseph still has a 40-man spot, Ronnier Mustelier has been terrific this spring, and the Yankees still have Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez (not to mention Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix). It is hardly a given that the Yankees present Adams with the best opportunity to reach the big leagues, and I have no idea whether they would offer the best contract.

Still pretty surprised the Yankees chose to take a risk with Adams rather than some of the other players on the 40-man, but in terms of DFA vs. release, the decision does make sense. If the Yankees were confident Adams would be claimed — which, surely they were – they were better off giving themselves a fighting chance that Adams would elect free agency and decide to come back.

• The Yankees starters for the final two exhibition games: Andy Pettitte on Friday, Adam Warren on Saturday.

• Lyle Overbay is not in the lineup, but he’s still here. I fully expected him to start at first base today, but I’m not sure it means much that he’s not. The Yankees are clearly still looking at Rivera as well, and they’re already well aware that Overbay can handle the position defensively.

• Joe Girardi doesn’t talk to the media before home games in spring training, so I haven’t had a chance to ask why Ichiro Suzuki is getting a turn in center field. I do wonder, though, if it’s an indication that Ichiro will open the season as the Yankees backup center fielder, which would seem to eliminate Melky Mesa (not that I considered him a favorite anyway).

• Mark Teixeira is meeting with the doctor on Monday to determine whether he can take off his splint and begin exercises with his wrist. That should explain why he’s going north.

• As far as I could tell, there were no real roster clues in the clubhouse. Everyone seems to be still in camp — definitely saw guys like Dan Johnson, Ben Francisco and all of the one-the-fence relievers — and no one fringy players were talking about getting apartments in Scranton. It seems the final decisions will wait until the weekend.

• No second string players listed today. Reegie Corono and Chase Whitley are among the guys up from minor league camp for the day.  

Today’s scheduled relievers: Cody Eppley, David Aardsma, Boone Logan, Juan Cedeno and Jim Miller.

• The Yankees are flying to D.C. after today’s game.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 487 Comments →

Rivera at first, Ichiro in center for Grapefruit finale03.28.13

Ichiro Suzuki CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jayson Nix SS
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 53 Comments →

The last day in Tampa03.28.13

It’s time to leave Florida.

The Yankees play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon against the Pirates. Hiroki Kuroda has the start, Robinson Cano is expected to play, and when it’s all over the Yankees will fly to Washington D.C. for the first of two final exhibition games before the regular season.

There are four days and three games for the Yankees to make their final roster decisions, and the team finds itself in the unusual position of being this close to Opening Day without knowing their starting first baseman, their right-handed designated hitter, their backup outfielder and two of their relief pitchers. To fill those spots, the Yankees will have to make difficult decisions beyond the major league roster, because the 40-man is full and at least two spots — probably more — will have to open to make room for injury replacements.

“That’s what happens,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “When you have a rash of significant injuries which aren’t 60-day situations — like in Granderson’s case or in Tex’s case — you’re going to wind up carrying a guys that (weren’t on the roster). Nothing you can do about it. It’s going to cut into some aspect. There are only 40 spots. What are you going to do? … We’re going to have to make tough calls that are going to affect good players. That’s life in the big city, at least this particular year.”

In making these final choices, Cashman made it clear that his priority will be the big league roster rather than protecting minor leaguers.

“My biggest need is the 25 (man roster) right now and what we’re going to run out there on Opening Day, especially first base,” Cashman said.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 76 Comments →

Postgame notes: Two hits for Overbay in Yankees win03.27.13

When you’re in camp for a three-day tryout, a two-hit day can carry a lot of weight.

Lyle Overbay went 2-for-5 tonight, getting one hit off a right-hander and one off a lefty. He also played the entire game at first base.

“Try to watch his swings and make the best judgment you can in three or four days,” Joe Girardi said earlier today. “That’s what you have to do, and see from an ability standpoint if he can help you offensively as well. … He does have a good glove, and he’s had a good glove over the years. He can save some stuff for you, there’s no doubt about it.”

Brian Cashman said this afternoon that Overbay would play tomorrow as well. He’s also on the travel list for the upcoming road trip to Washington D.C. and West Point. Based on his Friday out, I’d say Overbay is only going to West Point if he’s made the team.

• Ronnier Mustelier was scratched from tonight’s lineup because of soreness in his knee. He told Girardi that his knee “cracked” while running in the outfield, but that might be a translation issue. Either way, Mustelier will go for tests tomorrow. Hard to say right now how much this impacts his chances of making the team.

• The Yankees beat the Orioles 11-8 while getting home runs from Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco. The Vernon Wells signing might be an indication that there’s no spot for Francisco, but don’t forget that the Yankees don’t really have a right-handed DH right now, so there could be a spot for a right-handed bat beyond Juan Rivera. Just something to keep in mind. The homer was one of two hits for Francisco.

• Eduardo Nunez had another error-free night and went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to .293.

• David Phelps wrapped up spring training with his third win. He has a 4.18 ERA after allowing three runs — all of them coming in one inning — through 5.1 innings. At one point he retired 11 in a row, six on strikeouts. He had nine strikeouts total tonight.

• Good for Nick Goody to finally get in a big league game. He was in camp early this spring, but he was sidelined by a sprained ankle and was sent to minor league camp before he got a chance to pitch. Goody was brought up for the day and pitched a scoreless inning.  

• Mason Williams was also up for the day and had a two-run double. … Thomas Neal was 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs and a stolen base. … Another scoreless inning by Preston Claiborne. He’s pretty overlooked with all the other relief prospects in the Yankees system, but he has a 0.84 ERA this spring. … From the don’t-forget-about-me file, Melky Mesa doubled in his only at-bat of the night.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 28 Comments →

Spring training Game 32: Yankees at Orioles03.27.13

YANKEES (12-17-1)
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brennan Boesch RF
Ben Francisco LF
Jayson Nix 2B
Thomas Neal DH
Ronnier Mustelier 3B
Bobby Wilson C

RHP David Phelps (2-3, 3.97)

ORIOLES (18-8)
Nick Markakis RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
JJ Hardy DH
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Alexi Casilla SS

RHP Jair Jurrjens (1-1, 4.61)

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., not on television

WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 50s. No real chance of rain.

UMPIRES: HP David Soucy, 1B Will Little, 3B Chad Whitson

NOT IDEAL: There were minor league games to cover, and then an open clubhouse in big league camp, and then Brian Cashman talking in Tampa, and then newspaper stories to file … Long story short, I’m still in Tampa. Most of the beat guys were like me and stayed behind, but a few left early and are already in Sarasota, so there should be some reports coming in from Twitter. Depending on my newspaper work, I might try to make a late dash down there to catch the end of the game. I’ll let you know if I get there. For the time being, check Twitter and MLB.com for game updates.

FIRST TIMER: Lyle Overbay got a few innings and one at-bat last night, but tonight he’s making his first start since joining the Yankees on a three-day contract. The Yankees are going to have to make a quick decision on him.

WHAT TO WATCH: We now know that David Phelps is likely to make a big league start on April 6, so he’s obviously worth watching tonight. … Brennan Boesch is back in the lineup after missing five days with a sore rib cage. He’s still in the mix for a roster spot. … This afternoon, Brian Cashman refused to rule out the idea of using Ronnier Mustelier at third base and Kevin Youkilis at first base this season. I still think it’s a long shot, but it seems to be still on the table. At the very least, Mustelier could be in the mix for a utility job off the bench. He’s been arguably the Yankees best hitter this spring.

UPDATE, 8:28 p.m.: Ronnier Mustelier was a late scratch today because of a sore knee. Addison Maruszak got the start at third base.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 516 Comments →

Boesch returns to the lineup; Cano scratched03.27.13

Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brennan Boesch RF
Ben Francisco LF
Jayson Nix 2B
Thomas Neal DH
Ronnier Mustelier 3B
Bobby Wilson C

RHP David Phelps

I still haven’t left Tampa, but Sweeny Murti reports that Robinson Cano was scratched from the lineup because of a stomach bug.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 193 Comments →

Wednesday notes: Rotation still somewhat uncertain03.27.13

Kind of a strange day here in Yankees camp. Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes each made starts at the minor league complex, and soon after those two finished, the bulk of the team hit the road for a game in Sarasota where David Phelps will be making his 37th start of the spring, give or take. I still haven’t seen a Yankees lineup and still haven’t gotten on the road myself.

I suppose the real news of the day is that Hughes will definitely start the season on the disabled list. What’s still uncertain is whether he’ll be activated for a start on April 6. For now, the Yankees are preparing themselves to have Phelps make that start.

“He could do possibly the 6th if we think (Hughes) is ready,” Girardi said. “But right now, as we have a plan here, I think you plan for giving him two more starts. But that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to happen. We might feel that he’s ready after the next one. We’ve just gotta be prepared for it more than anything. Can’t get in a situation where one of those guys throws out of the bullpen and then he has to make a start.”

So, for the time being, pencil Phelps into the rotation as the fifth starter behind No. 4 starter Nova. As you’re doing that, though, realize that Nova pitched in a High-A game this afternoon and allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits through five-plus innings. Nova got off to a strong start this spring, but he’s struggled lately.

“I don’t think he pitched as well as we’d like him to,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “But a lot of times that doesn’t make a difference as long as his stamina’s there and he’s built up strength wise, pitch wise and things like that. But, obviously, if you have your druthers, you’d want to see him pitch really well and make quality pitches throughout. He’s made a lot of quality pitches, and then he’s made some mistakes. So, and the mistakes have caught him.”

“It wasn’t what I was expecting,” Nova said. “I was expecting to have a great spring, but I feel really good. It wasn’t that bad either. I didn’t think it was that bad. I make a lot of adjustments with my mechanics and my arm, and that’s a good point. … A lot of people look into the ERAs and other stuff. I’m not looking into the ERAs. I’m just looking that my arm is in shape and do what I intend to do with my mechanics.”

• Derek Jeter is not likely to get in a game until Monday at the earliest. Brian Cashman acknowledged that it’s “hard to predict” when Jeter will be ready to play in the big leagues, but he will definitely need to play back-to-back games before being activated. Cashman said there’s no additional medical problem, but the Yankees are trying to let Jeter fully rest the ankle. “Right now, I think rest and backing off just a bit to give the ankle soreness a chance to calm down and then we’ll get him going again,” Cashman said. “But I can’t tell you what that date is going to be. He was in there (getting treatment) today. I know we’ll get him back. I just can’t tell you when yet.”

• Still haven’t seen a Yankees lineup, but Girardi said Lyle Overbay is at first base. “He got released so I just gave him basically a three-day contract,” Cashman said. “Come on over we’ll take a quick peek. Our scouts have watched some of the stuff he’s been doing while he was with the Red Sox. So he’ll get a three-day, NBA-style contract on the minor league side.”

• Cashman said there is no intention of trying to put Overbay in Triple-A. He’s here to try to fill the Mark Teixeira hole at first base. If the Yankees decide he can’t do that, they won’t keep him.

• Will the Yankees carry both Overbay and Juan Rivera? “I don’t know,” Cashman said. “We’re first trying to see what (Overbay) is, in a very quick look.”

• Cashman left no doubt that the Yankees consider Vernon Wells their everyday left fielder for the time being. He’s not going to be in a platoon situation. “So the rest of these guys are fighting for support positions,” Cashman said.

• My own thought: If Wells is going to play against righties and lefties, is there any spot for Brennan Boesch? Is it better to use that roster spot for a right-handed outfielder who can DH against lefties?

• Why not put Mark Teixeira on the 60-day disabled list? “Right now he has a strong belief that, if everything goes right, he’ll be ready in May and hopefully early May,” Cashman said. “Doesn’t guarantee it. He may not be ready in May. It may not be until toward the end of May. It might be in June. But I’m not going to all of a sudden put ourselves in a position where he’s ready the second week of May, but I’ve got to wait for it now. I can’t do that. Those games are too important.”

• Why choose David Adams as the guy to come off the 40-man? “He’s been banged up and hurt,” Cashman said. “When he’s healthy, I know he can swing the bat. It’s just if he can stay healthy and on the field and what kind of defense given the injuries he’s had that he can provide. But he’s a gamer. He’s a tough cookie, high makeup guy, and (we) love the bat.” There seems to be at least some hope in the Yankees system that Adams could end up re-signing a minor league deal, but he has to go through release waivers first.

• Despite the fact Hughes is going to open on the DL, Girardi seemed uncertain whether the Yankees will need a true long man when they open the season. “That’s something we’re going to have to discuss,” Girardi said. “Do you carry a true long man, or do you think, with the seven guys that you have, can they give you enough innings that you don’t need a true long man?”

• Are the Yankees going to carry two lefties? “I prefer guys who can get people out,” Rothschild said. “So, lefty, righty, whatever. The way Joe uses the bullpen, it’s nice the two lefties, but again it’s nice to have guys who can get people out. That’s going to be the bottom line.”

• When the Yankees leave camp tomorrow night to play an exhibition in Washington D.C., Mark Teixeira will travel with the team. Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson will not. Girardi said that’s because Jeter and Granderson are closer to doing some real baseball activity. They’ll stay behind so they can begin doing stuff in Tampa.

• The Yankees brought up a handful of minor league guys to make today’s trip to Sarasota, including highly touted center fielder Mason Williams. Others brought up for the day: RHP Nick Goody, RHP Zach Arneson, RHP Craig Heyer, LHP Fred Lewis, C Kyle Higashioka, C Jeff Farnham, INF Addison Maruszak, INF Walter Ibarra, INF Kevin Mahoney and OF Ramon Flores.

• RHP Kelvin Perez, C Francisco Arcia, INF Jose Pirela and OF Zoilo Almonte will be extra guys with the Yankees for the trip through West Point and D.C. Basically everyone still in big league camp will make the trip, including Adam Warren, who’s been technically optioned to Triple-A. He doesn’t seem to be completely ruled out for the Opening Day roster.

• Yankees results from today’s minor league games:

Phil Hughes (Low-A start)
5.0IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 81 pitches/52 strikes

Francisco Cervelli (catching Hughes in Low-A)
1-for-5 with 1 single and 1RBI

Ivan Nova (High-A start)
5.0IP, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 1BB, 4K, 92 pitches/62 strikes

Chris Stewart (catching Nova in High-A)
0-for-2, 1BB

David Aardsma (intersquad game against Single-A and Double-A players)
1.0IP, 0H, 2K, 11 pitches/9 strikes

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 127 Comments →

Hughes to DL, likely to skip first start03.27.13

Joe Girardi just said Phil Hughes will, in fact, open the season on the disabled list. Girardi went a step further to say the Yankees are currently planning to have David Phelps, not Hughes, start on April 6.

Not a given that Phelps will get that start — still a chance Hughes could prove himself ready after one more outing — but the Yankees are currently planning to have Hughes make two more minor league starts before making his season debut on April 11.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 135 Comments →

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